Monthly Archives: February 2006

Maybe we should change it to the Read the SAME Bills Act

The Associated Press reports that President Bush signed into law a Medicaid bill that the House didn’t actually pass::::

At issue is a provision involving the period of time the government pays to rent some types of durable medical equipment before medical suppliers transfer it to Medicare patients.::::::The Senate voted for 13 months, as intended by Senate and House negotiators, but a Senate clerk erroneously put down 36 months in sending the bill back to the House for a final vote, and that’s what the House approved Feb. 1.::::::By the time the bill was shipped to Bush, the number was back to 13 months as passed by the Senate but not the House.

:::To be fair, this is a technical error and it appears that 13 months is the intent of both houses of Congress. But the fact is, the House did not pass it as such. Two points stand out:::::::1. If Congress was subject to the Read the Bills Act, the House negotiators would have noticed the clerical error and corrected it.:::2. This law is invalid, because the Constitution requires that the House and Senate pass the same, exactly identical bill for it to become law. Thankfully, as the AP story reports, an Alabama attorney, Jim Zeigler, is filing a suit charging its unconstitutionality.::::::But what is the reaction of Congress and the White House?:::

The White House and House and Senate GOP leaders say the matter is settled because the mistake was technical and that top House and Senate leaders certified the bill before transmitting it to the White House.

:::Why won’t they correct the error? Because the bill passed by the narrowest of margins: 216-214. If the corrected bill was put to a vote, it might not pass.::::::This is not a trivial issue. It’s bad enough that members of Congress often do not know what they vote for. But here is an instance where the President signs into law a bill that Congress didn’t even pass. If this isn’t corrected, then the government will be rewarded for its own sloppiness and incompetence. And that’s just a small step from something far worse. Today’s “error” will become tomorrow’s deliberate fraud.

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Good news!

Ed Brayton at “Dispatches from the Culture War” on Seed.com, a very highly read blog, has written a very favorable post about the “Read the Bills Act.”

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Read the Bills Gets Plug

Noel Gibeson of the Mount Vernon Institute was a recent e-radio guest at the Free Market News Network. The topic of the interview was also the topic of his recent column, Cleaning House (and Senate). In both the column and the interview, his first suggestion for cleaning up government is the Read the Bills Act, and he sends readers and listeners our way.::::::Click here for Noel Gibeson’s column.::::::Click here for Noel Gibeson’s interview at Free Market News.

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You are the stonecutter

“Look at a stonecutter hammering away at this rock, perhaps a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”— Jacob A. Rils

:::

Congress is the rock. “Read the Bills” is the hammer. You are the stonecutter.:::

Take action: Send a message asking Congress to pass the “Read the Bills Act” (RTBA). Do so by clicking here.:::

  • 324 Downsizers sent 972 RTBA messages to Congress yesterday.:::
  • 9,822 Downsizers have not yet sent an RTBA message this week. If they did Congress would be bombarded with 29,466 more appeals to pass RTBA (each message goes to one Represenative, and two Senators):::
  • 10,378 subscribers to the Downsizer-Dispatch have yet to use our online lobbying system for the first time. If they did so today for RTBA, another 31,134 messages would hammer Congress.

:::

It only takes 2 to 3 minutes to use the system for the first time, and only a minute to use it every time thereafter. Join the fun by clicking here to send your first RTBA message.:::

One Downsizer contributed $10 toward our remaining February fundraising goal. We need another $3,909 by February 28. To make a contribution or start a monthly pledge click here.:::

News of the latest media interviews are posted on our blog.:::

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.:::

Jim Babka:::President:::DownsizeDC.org, Inc. :::

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Listen to Media Interview: President’s State of the Union

President’s State of the Union

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Read the Bills makes LP News

The Libertarian Party’s national newspaper, LP News, featured a report on Downsize DC and the Read the Bills Act in its January edition. The report is friendly, fair, and pretty accurate. ::::::The interview with LP News Editor Daniel Cloud was fun. He was quite professional. I’m told that in the print version (which I’ve yet to see) that there were some pictures of me as well. Well, you’re not missing much if you check out the version recently made available online. The pics aren’t there, but Cloud’s well-written piece is. :::

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Read the Bills Action, Part 2

Read the Bills Action, Part 2

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Action on RTBA, Part 1

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .::::::

We’re turning up the heat on Congress to pass the “Read the Bills Act.” (RBTA):::

  • Thanks to the financial support of many DC Downsizers, we now have someone to book interviews. Two more have just been booked, and more will follow quickly. Stay tuned for details. :::
  • Our volunteer created media list now has 87 entries, and we’ll be asking for your help soon to make it even larger. :::
  • Our first RTBA letters-to-the-editor campaign was a success, and we’ll be doing this on a regular basis. Get your “pens” ready.:::
  • Most of the background work for our RTBA Coalition of talk show hosts, blogs, and organizations has been completed and we’re hoping to launch this next week, Murphy permitting.:::
  • We’re also hoping to launch our MeetUp groups for the Congressional Invasion and the “No Legislation Without Representation Conference” the week after next. Again, Murphy permitting.

:::

All of these are steps on a path that will make RTBA visible to everyone, everywhere, everyday. And the next step we want to take begins now . . .:::

Direct More Firepower at Congress:::

We want to send more messages to Congress about RTBA this week, than ever before. We want to dramatically increase the number of Downsizer-Dispatch subscribers who are registered to use our lobbying system. We want more-and-more people badgering Congress about RTBA.:::

We’ve already sent 26,322 messages to Congress about RTBA. This has been enough to prompt many members of Congress, and some members of the media, to start talking about weak, substitute reforms like a “two-day waiting” period. But there are enough people on this list to send 60,000 RTBA messages to Congress in a single day. If only we will do it. It only takes 2 to 3 minutes to register to use the system. Please do it. Please help. :::

If you’re already registered to use the lobbying system, send a message to Congress right now asking them to sponsor and pass RTBA. You can send your message by clicking here.

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REAL ID ACT, Grudge Day

REAL ID ACT, Grudge Day

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February 12 Radio Show

A caller opened the show – Randy had never heard of DownsizeDC.org but said he was going to check it out right away. He wanted to know how to overcome discouragement about all the things government was doing to us. How did I answer him? Well, if you’re still unsure, you’ll want to listen to the archive — the attachment to this blog entry (see below). ::::::We also did our first MPP Update for the Marijuana Policy Project. MPP is joining us as an official sponsor in March. They are launching a campaign that could,

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